Government, SHDDC talks fail
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, August 04 2011:
Talks between the state government and representatives of the agitating Sardar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) today failed to bring any solution to the ongoing impasse.
However, there is a development in the talks as the SHDDC will convene a public meeting on Friday at Kangpokpi regarding the conditions put up by the state government in today's meeting before the SHDDC leaders.
Disclosing to Newmai News Network, a source from the SHDDC said that around 2:30 pm today, a three-member team of SHDDC met the state government's representatives led by CM, O Ibobi.
During the meeting which lasted nearly three hours, the state government laid down certain conditions before the SHDDC.
The source said these conditions put up by the state government will be discussed minutely in a public meeting on Friday at Kangpokpi.
Meanwhile, SHDDC general secretary Tonghen Kipgen informed that the agitation in Sardar Hills area will continue.
It is worth noting that the ongoing economic blockade began on NH 39 and NH 53 from midnight July 31, demanding for the declaration of Sadar Hill sub-division into a full fledged district.
From its economic blockade, the SHDDC started an indefinite bandh since Wednesday after three persons were killed on Tuesday arising from blockade violence.
"Following the abject apathy of the state government to our demand, we are forced into the decision to call a total economic blockade along NHs 39 and 53 beginning midnight of July 31 till August 7, which may be extended if the government does not respond positively to the demand for a full fledged Sadar Hills district within the one-week time frame", president of SHDDC Ngamkhohao Haokip had stated few days ago.
The blockade will not give any concession to transportation and movement of essential commodities via the two lifelines of the state, he had added.
Thangkam Lupheng, vice president SHDDC, had observed that the people of Sadar Hills have been persistently waylaid by the state government over the past decades, and said that this is perhaps the last attempt as far as the demand for a separate Sadar Hill district is concerned.
"If a reasonable and rightful demand for a full fledged Sadar Hill district is not agreed to by the state government, we will be forced to scale up our demand" .
He did not spell out what exactly he meant by scaling up the demand although it is assumed that it could well be a demand for a separate state.
Haokip had noted that in order to give protection to the hill people under the Constitution of India, Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971 was enacted, prior to Manipur gaining statehood, as the government of the day was apprehensive that the cause of the hill people might not be addressed by the establishment.
Despite the act having been implemented in letter and spirit in all the hill districts of Manipur, the cause of Sadar Hills autonomous district council has been constantly and relentlessly ignored by successive governments in the state, he said.
Earlier the British administration, and later the government under the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 strongly advocated separate administration for the hill areas of Manipur because of the widely held notion that there is nothing common between the plain and the hill people.
The Northeast (Re-organization) Act, 1971 and other acts of the Constitution also provide special provision for administration under the 6th scheduled in most Northeast states of India, the president said.
He went on to say that the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971 effectively empowers the state government to redraw district boundaries.
And accordingly, given the exigency and the politics of the time, successive state governments instituted a committee to study the boundary of Sadar Hills ADC.
Several reports have already been submitted and adjustments have been made, but Chief Ministers and Governors have successively refused to uphold their constitutional duty despite assurances made to SHDDC, he said.